"This book has the makings of a classic. It is winsome, thorough, well-documented, tackles contemporary concerns, . . . and presents a credible account of Luther's views accessible for preachers and teachers. . . . We surely can be grateful to Kolb and Arand for this fine work."--Mark C. Mattes, Lutheran Quarterly
While other volumes are available that introduce readers to the theology of Martin Luther, this volume from two eminent Lutheran professors offers a unique approach. Rather than surveying traditional theological subject headings, they focus on two central ideas that informed the basic conceptual framework of Wittenberg theology.
The first presupposition concerns Luther's anthropology. His well-known emphasis on justification by faith, or "passive righteousness," described God's grace. But Luther also emphasized a related aspect, the "active righteousness" of love that ought to shape and guide social relationships. The second presupposition concerns Luther's focus on the way God works in the world through his Word--creative, incarnational, and sacramental. Taken together, Kolb and Arand find that these ideas formed a matrix that shaped the theological reflections of Luther and his disciples.
Twenty-first century Christians face significant challenges to their proclamation of the gospel and to their existence as a faith community. Living in a tumultuous age, Luther faced equally challenging crises. His theological emphases, which are described and considered in this perceptive study, have much to offer contemporary pastors and theologians who seek to construct their own formulations of God's message for the present age.
"Aside from a few slogans and provocative quotes, Luther's theology is largely unknown in the land that Bonhoeffer called 'Protestantism without the Reformation.' Christianity in America desperately needs the wisdom and penetrating insight into gospel logic that is winsomely introduced in this rewarding volume."--Michael S. Horton, J. Gresham Machen Professor of Systematic Theology and Apologetics, Westminster Seminary California
"This eminently readable volume marks a high point in theological reflection on Martin Luther's contribution to today's church. Eschewing standard topical analyses that have often distorted Luther's thought, the authors--in essays focusing on God's twofold righteousness and God's powerful Word--have uncovered the very core of Wittenberg's theological revolution in a winsome, nondefensive manner. They thereby provide a radically new perspective on contemporary Christian faith and witness. This book is an invaluable tool for preaching, teaching, and learning the faith."--Timothy J. Wengert, Ministerium of Pennsylvania Professor of the History of Christianity, The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia
"Kolb and Arand have provided a great service to all who seek a deeper understanding of reformational theology. The Genius of Luther's Theology is a fresh and innovative examination of the heart of Luther's theology. This book makes Luther more understandable and thus more usable for readers of all levels."--Jack Preus, president, Concordia University, Irvine, California
"Stressing Luther's theological anthropology and his view of the living and active Word of God, Kolb and Arand have given us a useful, pertinent, and contemporarily significant introduction to the genius of the great reformer's thought. This book is a valuable contribution to Luther research."--Lawrence R. Rast Jr., professor of historical theology and academic dean, Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Indiana